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SEARCHLIGHT  ON  HINDUISM                               67
It is very important that the world should recognize this fact
and realize its implications. The following pages represent an
endeavour to help at least a few people to do so.
It will be best if we divide our argument into three main parts.
Firstly, we must gain a clear impression of what Hinduism
really is.
Secondly, we must illustrate the extent to which it is a living
and aggressive force in the India of 1944.
Thirdly, we must try to assess the probable reactions which will
ensue from the impact of this force on the modern world, which
is shrinking so rapidly.
n
What is 'Hinduism' ?
I am writing this in the hills far away from dictionaries and
religious textbooks, but they would not be of much assistance
even if they were by my side.   Hinduism is almost indefinable, f
because it is a hotchpotch of almost every fear, dream, and/
delusion which has ever drifted through the tangled shadowy,
jungle of man's brains.
Hinduism has no church. It has no Pope. It has no Bible.
True, it has a mass of ancient texts, songs and legends, which
might be said to take the place of a Bible. But there is no ultimate
authority to establish the truth of this formidable collection of
antiquities. You can believe one and reject the other, as you
choose.1
1 The only approach to a Hindu Bible is the Bliagavat Gita, a work of great
spiritual beauty, which can be ignored by no student of the inner life. According
to legend it was spoken by Krishna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra,; its true
authorship is lost in the mists of history. There were possibly several contributors.
Its main teaching, which is at once the*strength and weakness of Hinduism, is that
true knowledge is to be found only within the Self* Browning expressed tbia view
in Paracelsus :
4 Truth lies within ourselves ; it takes no rise
Prom outward things, whate'er you may believe.
There is an inmost centre in us all
Where Truth abides in fullness; and to know
Rather consists in opening out a way
When the imprisoned splendour may escape,
Than in effecting entry for a light
Supposed to be without.'
That is the message of the Gtta , and for the saint, for the man of natural spiritual
inclinations, it is easy to read. For the ordinary sinner it is full of dangers 5 it denies